"anothermedstudent: I can't even imagine doing 90-100 hour weeks for a year. How can you even tie your shoes, much less perform in a clinical setting? Also, I'm very glad to hear that as a post-bacc with a husband in law school, you were able to survive virtually without childcare. Would you mind sharing some of your logistics and strategies? Were you still able to see your husband? Finally, I agree with you about time with my wife being more important than a few hours in daycare--not only is that true in terms of its value to each other, but I believe our child will benefit from being exposed to a healthy parental relationship. Thanks for all your input."
The reason it ends up being so many hours is that as a med student, you work the same number of hours as the intern (or on some teams, more), then need to study because you don't know *anything* about any of the specialties you are rotating through. Then I always felt this huge pressure to read in depth about whatever my patients had, which added more time to everything. I'm probably exaggerating, honestly. But it can be challenging, in large degree I feel because of sleep deprivation. Med school is a very different animal from the postbacc program I did, and I could not have gotten by with anything less than full-time childcare (minimum 40 hours/wk) as a med student married to someone also working/studying full-time.
There is no way we could have had our children during my medical school or residency years. And my spouse is not a physician. We had no family nearby and I just don't see how we could have done it then. I know other families have done it, and I guess you do what you have to, but I have serious doubts about my ability to have infants or young children and go through what I went through during those years. I am so glad our kids came along a little later. Not to say others have not done this and done it well...I am just thinking of myself in that situation.
lyn2006: Sounds like it's essentially a matter of dividing your free time between your spouse and your child, and occasionally creating more free time to spend with your spouse by using daycare, hiring a babysitter, utilizing friends and family, etc. Thank you for this insight, and for your suggestion of hiring a house cleaner. We're both unusually neat people, so I could see us spending an inordinate amount of our precious free time on cleaning our place.
anothermedstudent: It's good to know that there's such a disparity between post-bacc studies and medical school. That dispels some of my more idealistic notions about the workload!
kpzr/9145: Thanks for an alternate viewpoint. It seems that people who aren't in this situation view it as impossible, but people who are have found (sometimes unexpected) ways to make it work.
I'm glad I stumbled across this forum. From reading everyone's responses, I have a lot more clarity on my original questions than when I first posted here, and I feel much more confident about our ability to handle having a child in medical school (and my own ability to get through classes while doing so). Thanks to all of you for your input and insight!